Cleaning Grout Lines

 
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:05 PM   #1
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Cleaning Grout Lines


What is the best product to use when cleaning grout lines on tile floors.

Thanks
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:55 PM   #2
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


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What is the best product to use when cleaning grout lines on tile floors.

Thanks
Are you referring to cleaning dirty grout or when you're initially setting grout?

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Old 01-30-2008, 10:29 PM   #3
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


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Are you referring to cleaning dirty grout or when you're initially setting grout?
Cleaning grout that is dirty from day to day use.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:09 PM   #4
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


There was a thread about this a while back. I use phosphoric acid, but it was pointed out that sulfamic acid is a less expensive alternative. I have no experience with the sulfamic, but maybe will try when I need to do it again. The sulfamic is apparently available through Floridatile or at home depot or lowe's. I got the phosphoric at a local tile store. It was under the Superior brand.

When you're done cleaning, you'll want to seal.

Moreover, you'll have a greater appreciation for black grout.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:48 PM   #5
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


Thanks for the info. My Kitchen and Sunroom have gotta be cleaned up.

appreciate it.
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:00 PM   #6
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


HELL NO!! Don't use acid just for cleaning the joints!! Acid should be used for one reason, and one reason only-- and that's cleaning excess grout haze off the face of the tile after initially grouting the tile, and even then that's only IF it's needed!! I can't remember the last time I used acid on a floor!!

For giving your grout joints a good stiff cleaning, mix up a solution of oxyclean-- about double the concentration they suggest on the side of the container. Use a scrub brush to agitate the joints, and once you've scrubbed them down pretty well, use s shop-vac to suck up the dirty solution. Then do the same thing again, but with clear hot water. Again, suck it up with a shop-vac. You'll see a huge improvement. The reason for the sop-vac is that a mop will just push alot of the dirt back into the joints. The vacumn will pick it right up.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:44 AM   #7
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


oxyclean does work but you do have to agitate it and let it sit FOREVER.

For white grout, i use diluted bleach and let dwell a few minutes.

For colored grout (and deep down stains) i use acid but its nasty stuff so use a respirator when you do it.

If it is just a surface dirt, try a magic eraser (Mr. Clean)

when your done, seal the hell out of it so you dont have to work so hard at it next time.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


OK, Let's go through this again.

You must understand that none of the acids have any effect what-so-ever on soil or dirt (if you will) or any kind of stains or oils or any topical contaminate for that matter.

The acids go after Portland cement. That's what they do. They are designed to attack the chemical makeup of Portland cement. Yes they may have a cleaning effect but at the same time what they are really doing is DESTROYING THE GROUT. They are lifting good grout to get to more grout and taking away the stain in the process.

To think that these acids are some kind of a miracle drug to be used at the drop of a hat is a big mistake. It damages the grout and in some cases can damage the tile and in more cases can damage your health.

HELL NO!! Don't use acid just for cleaning the grout joints.
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post

To think that these acids are some kind of a miracle drug to be used at the drop of a hat is a big mistake. It damages the grout and in some cases can damage the tile and in more cases can damage your health.
We won't even talk about what the fumes will do to surrounding surfaces.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:46 PM   #10
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


I'm not a chemist, but we're talking about phosphoric acid here, not hydrochloric (muriatic).

No one would recommend cleaning dirt with muriatic acid, and we are talking about dirt, grease, and stains (god knows what) on grout. We don't want to remove the grout, we want to remove the dirt.

I would also recommend starting with something mild, no stronger than vinegar. I think this is your main point, and it is well taken.

Vinegar of course is also an acid!

You've also got your citric acids which appear quite frequently in cleaning products.

The phosphoric doesn't attack the cementious substance like muriatic does. It is much more mild. It is being sold as "tile grout cleaner".

I have cleaned a lot of brickwork and a bit of tilework with hydrochloric acid with excellent results, although your warning about metal surfaces should be observed. And my objective in both cases was to remove mortar or grout, not dirt, from the surface of the brick or tile.

I hope this clears it up-you can start with a mild cleaner, such as vinegar to remove dirt and stains. Phosphoric acid can be used to remove stubborn stains. Hydrochloric or muriatic acid won't do any good whatsoever on dirt or stains.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:02 PM   #11
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


gotcha. I was doing some snow removal for a customer a day ago. We send out my wifes business card with their bill. Got a bite. Wife has a cleaning business and the woman wanted to know if she cleans grout lines on porcelain tile. My wife is pregnant and she laughed and said she won't work with toxic chemicals. I'll tell her to use a mild organic cleaner. I really don't want to mess with it.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:35 PM   #12
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


i would never use muriatic acid. but... if you use the phosphoric, still use a respirator. (i have asthma, so i always wear some sort of mask)
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Old 02-10-2008, 02:38 AM   #13
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


Cleveman-- ANY acid-- even vinegar, nevermind phosphoric or sulfamic acid-- will break grout down. the way ANY acid works on grout is by attacking the lime in the cement. It's all a matter of acids and bases. Remember back when we were kids in school? In every school, there was ALWAYS someone who did a school project involving vinegar and baking soda, mixing the two together and watching them erupt. It's no different with any acid and grout, only instead of baking soda, it's lime that the acid is reacting with. If you use acid too many times, you start to burn the grout joint, and sooner or later, the grout will begin to powder out. There are also many tiles where acids will harm the glaze, as well. These are just some of the reasons why TCNA has come out against acid washing, even for cleaning grout haze, even though it used to be considered part of every job, years ago. It's kind of going the way of greenboard and mastic in showers. There's a better way.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:53 PM   #14
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


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Originally Posted by Bill_Vincent View Post
HELL NO!! Don't use acid just for cleaning the joints!! Acid should be used for one reason, and one reason only-- and that's cleaning excess grout haze off the face of the tile after initially grouting the tile, and even then that's only IF it's needed!! I can't remember the last time I used acid on a floor!!

For giving your grout joints a good stiff cleaning, mix up a solution of oxyclean-- about double the concentration they suggest on the side of the container. Use a scrub brush to agitate the joints, and once you've scrubbed them down pretty well, use s shop-vac to suck up the dirty solution. Then do the same thing again, but with clear hot water. Again, suck it up with a shop-vac. You'll see a huge improvement. The reason for the sop-vac is that a mop will just push alot of the dirt back into the joints. The vacumn will pick it right up.
Yes, it's true that the acid compromises the strength of the grout. But, the only method left is re-grouting if the work is indeed so dirty that both oxygen bleach and alkaline cleaner fail. If you're This Old House, tile work isn't a problem; if you're a make-ready contractor on a shoestring bid, the customer doesn't even want such intensive, expensive work performed; they just want it not-disgusting.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:33 PM   #15
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


If your budget is such that the work can't be completed as it should be, that's what's called lowballing, and you need to get away from that. It'll do nothing but give you a whole lot of unhappy customers, and more importantly, a bad reputation. Acid can cause a whole lot of problems, that have nothing to do with the tile. Everything from marring and etching finishes on other surfaces to causing permanent damage to the lungs of pets, small children, and the elderly, and the fumes don't have to be that strong to cause problems. Seriously-- try the oxyclean, first.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:05 PM   #16
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


Yea, exactly, try the oxygen bleach first. Then the alkaline, then the acid. And thanks for the advice, when did your dad start your business?
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:11 PM   #17
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


He didn't. I started my business in 2002, and my father passed in 85. If, however you're asking about HIS business, my grandfather started it in 1928, and it was around until 1990.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:20 PM   #18
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


Ah, see, I started homeless, scrapping non-ferrous metal, and worked my way up to "lowballing." Not all of us have the luxury of turning down work. Not all of us are cleaning red wine and fine cheese out of marble joints. Some of us are cleaning up HUD houses on the cheap because there isn't any other work. The grout that I cleaned today hadn't seen a brush in twenty years. And you know what he was going to do with this tile? He was going to scrape it out and put up plastic. You should be thanking me, tile man. Then again, I can see why you look down on me: I'm 400% cheaper and am taking jobs from tilers all the time XD
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:25 PM   #19
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


I thank NO ONE who hurts my trade, lowballer. What you might have done is confirm to this guy that tile just isn't worth the trouble. Thank you very much.

Not.

And for the record, I've had my share of sh*t jobs tile and otherwise, so don't even try to play that crap, buckwheat.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:29 PM   #20
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Re: Cleaning Grout Lines


I'm not in your trade and it wasn't worth the trouble, wasn't worth your crazy silver-trowel fees, until I offered to somewhat restore it using:

PHOSPHORIC ACID

And! It's working well

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